The year 2016 has been interesting on the SEO front, with new techniques emerging and evolving to get your website a higher rank on the search engine. It introduced an influx of rich search results, new ways to think about keywords, and a highlight on user behaviour. But now that the year is almost over, you need to plan ahead and think about updating your optimization game plan as 2017 fast approaches. Here are some interesting SEO trends to look forward to in 2017-
1. Increasing importance of semantics and personalised search
With the continuous evolution of technology, keyword search has gone through some significant changes, and you should be paying close attention to personalised search and semantics in the coming year.
Search results now adapt based on the viewer’s device, location and search history. For example, search results will turn out different on the desktop and the mobile. Results are also becoming more specific based on the searcher’s recent related searches. Additionally, semantic context of the search has now become more important than specific keywords. Search engines interpret queries to show results based on what the users mean, which is not always the same thing as what they searched for. This change makes the tracking of the success of an SEO campaign more difficult. To find out if your SEO strategy is working or not, you’ll now have to account for these overlapping queries.
2. Rankbrain- the future of SEO
Rankbrain, the machine learning AI system incorporated into Google’s search algorithm is now Google’s third most important ranking factor. Rankbrain gives immense value to quality content- the type of content that is hard to fake. So, to appeal to Rankbrain’s automated process, your pages need to have content with a focus on reader-friendliness, authority and authenticity. Don’t intentionally stuff keywords in your content, just incorporate a variety of similar phrases in your page in a natural way that doesn’t affect readability.
3. Voice search is here to stay
The ongoing trend of 2016 will continue to grow in 2017 as voice searches become directly integrated into interfaces such as Google Now, Siri and Cortana. Voice recognition is rapidly becoming more accurate, with only an 8% error rate in 2015 and the better it can recognize what we have to say, the more people will start to use it to search the web.
Voice search also allows for conversational search capabilities, for example, if Google Now misinterprets a synonym, you can effortlessly correct it without starting a new query from scratch. So, it’s about time you start optimising your website and tailor your SEO approach keeping the voice search function in mind. This includes focussing more on long-tail keywords, using schema to provide context, creating FAQ’s and researching conversational queries.
4. The rise of Google AMP
Google Accelerated Mobile Pages, also known as Google AMP can load pages up to 30 times faster than normal, becoming an unofficial ranking factor in the coming year. According to reports, AMP pages receive not only better rankings in the SERP’s, but also higher click-through rates from users. Moreover, AMP is expected to significantly impact website rankings in mobile search results. With this kind of positive impact, it would definitely be a good idea to setup Google AMP on your website. Installing AMP is a move with virtually no risk and potentially loads of reward.
5. Bing deserves your attention
Google may still prevail as the No.1 search engine, but Bing isn’t far behind. Bing accounts for one-third of all search engine traffic- hardly a number of users that you can ignore. The reason for Bing being so popular is because of its status as the default search engine for several voice controlled personal assistants, including Cortana and Siri. So, exploring optimization specifically for Bing results is well worth your time. Bing optimization isn’t very different from what you’re used to with Google; if anything, it’s even more straightforward. Begin by making sure your pages are indexed and try to understand the major differences between Bing and Google optimization. For the most part, the on-page SEO techniques have little variance. However, there are a few subtle differences, like inbound anchor text and keyword in domains are more important in Bing.
As the rules of SEO continuously shift from time to time, it’s becoming even harder to game the system. The only thing you can do is stay up-to-date with the current trends and try to adopt them well ahead of your competitors.